July 25 (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s second-largest handset maker, may have surpassed Nokia Oyj and Apple Inc. in smartphone sales in the second quarter, driven by the popularity of Android-based models, according to Boston- based Strategy Analytics.
Samsung is estimated to have sold between 18 million and 21 million smartphones globally in the period, compared with 16.7 million for Nokia and 20.3 million iPhones, Neil Mawston, a London-based analyst at the research company, said in an e- mailed response to questions on July 22.
The maker of Galaxy devices is on track to pass Nokia and Research In Motion Ltd. in smartphone sales for the first time to become Apple’s closest rival, as consumers flock to devices running Google Inc.’s Android system. Samsung, which aims to more than double smartphone sales this year, and Apple are vying to replace Nokia as the biggest smartphone seller and capitalize on surging demand for computer-like handsets.
“Apple, Samsung and Nokia are in a close three-way battle,” said Mawston. “Samsung’s Android portfolio is selling strongly in most regions. Samsung and Apple will be at similar levels in smartphones by the end of the year.”
Including basic phones, Samsung will probably have a 20 percent share this year, compared with Nokia’s 26 percent, closing the gap to the narrowest ever, he said.
Galaxy S II
Samsung’s smartphone sales, ranked fourth in the first quarter, are accelerating after it began selling the Galaxy S II, a successor to its best-selling Android device introduced last year to counter Apple.
The 4.27-inch model unveiled in February helped Samsung more than double operating profit at its mobile phone business in the second quarter, according to five analysts polled by Bloomberg News.
Apple reported net income that beat estimates on July 19, lifted by record sales of iPhones and iPads. Earnings for the three-month period ended June 25 was followed by Nokia’s first quarterly loss since 2009 as the Finish company struggles to sell handsets based on its 10-year-old Symbian software.
Android’s share will rise to 44 percent by 2015 from 39 percent this year, according to a forecast by International Data Corp. Global sales of smartphones will soar 55 percent to 472 million units this year, according to the researcher.
Samsung is also tapping consumers looking for lower-priced models with devices using its own Bada software. It plans to introduce a new model based on the system in the second half, J.K. Shin, head of Samsung’s mobile-phone division, said July 20.
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